Friday, November 7, 2014
Notre Dame-Arizona State Is Among 3 Playoff Games
Make no mistake of it, this is a playoff game. The winner will strengthen significantly their chance to make the playoff. The loser will have to settle for trying to make either the Orange or the Fiesta Bowl which is not a bad place either. For Notre Dame, this is their absolute last chance to get a "quality" win. After this they have 3 spoilers in Northwestern, Louisville, and USC. For Arizona State, they still have the PAC 12 championship to fall back on so it is not quite as critical, but still 2 losses will make it tougher to get in with only 4 teams. Notre Dame has no conference championship to fall back on so this is do or die.
With this new playoff format, Notre Dame fans cannot just pay attention to the Irish. There are other games that impact Notre Dame. The first is TCU-Kansas State. This is for all practical purposes a playoff and a conference championship game. The loser is out and the winner is in the driver's seat to be the conference champ since the Big 12 is the only power conference without an official championship game. The best value is has to Notre Dame is that one of them has to lose.
Michigan State-Ohio State is the other one with the winner practically a shoe in to win the Big Ten East and a trip to the Big 10 Championship. The loser is out for sure. Again, the best value it has for Notre Dame is that somebody has to lose. The Big Ten hasn't really proven to be a good conference this year, but for whatever reason the committee seems to want to forgive Michigan State's bad loss to Oregon and their soft schedule. Notre Dame picked the wrong year to leave them off the schedule.
Other games of interest include LSU can play spoiler to Alabama. The Irish need Florida State to dominate Virginia. Oklahoma can play spoiler to Baylor and if Utah can somehow knock off Oregon that would be great.
Of course, none of it matters if Notre Dame doesn't take care of it's business. So the best thing the Irish can do is play a great game and let all those other games work themselves out.